davidn: (skull)
Some of the comments gathered on my three-years-old upload of Chockablock, an oddly charming if slightly psychedelic 1980s pre-school programme.

Chockagirl can sit on my Chockacock - 1355steveo

I'd put it in her "block slot". - shapla1979

first time I have seen a woman reverse without crashing - Cancerape

She reminds me of a mentally retarded woman I once almost had sex with. - thechapaqua

hahaha maybe she thought it was a c...k - 2TEG

she can sit on somthing else too hehehe mmmmm - 2TEG

She can suck my chock-a-cock!!! - Jermyn78

THAT CAROL LEADER? SHE GIVES ME THE FUCKIN' 'ORN. - thechapaqua

i want her now please very much,thanks please very much if you can do this for me please - scootmahoney

I'd like to put my block in Chockagirl's blockslot. - ming64

(and I'd block her slot too) - markypearson01

Choc a girl ? Choc a truck ? CHOCAFUCK! - tomtomstuff


By the almighty power of Fred Harris - was I the only watcher of this programme who was raised with a shred of basic decency?
davidn: (Jam)
I've been delving into the DVDs converted from my parents' video archives again after a while away from them - the process in getting them up to Youtube is unimaginably roundabout, having to rip them from the DVD in one program, convert them to a usable format in another, then use iMovie to split them into uploadable segments (who said Macs were easy?), so I can only do a few at a time before I get utterly fed up for a while.

What's sticking out to me most is the sheer amount of things that I grew up with that nobody would ever be allowed to get away with today. One of the relics on a cartoons tape was an episode of the Blue Racer, which in a sort of Road Runnerish fashion showed the repeated attempts of a supersonic blue snake to catch a lost Japanese beetle, complete with accent, slit-eyes and wonky teeth.

Pinny's House is something that gets mixed reactions whenever I show it to anyone - some people are absolutely horrified by it and some see no problem with it at all. I had just remembered it as a charmingly stylized story, in that way that Oliver Postgate used to manage so effortlessly, and while it doesn't contain any absurdly exaggerated racial stereotyping like the above cartoon did, I couldn't help noticing now that Victor is the smallest and also... blackface-est wooden sailor in the world.

And Mr Boom had the distinction of being the only programme that I remember from that era that I found a bit weird even at the time. This one was home-grown in Scotland, and was a pre-school storytelling series, hosted by a one-man band with a lampshade on his head who lived on the Moon. And the smiley blue ping-pong ball in the television screen with the voice that's exactly halfway between a Dalek and one of the turrets from Portal.
davidn: (Jam)
Quite a while ago I wrote a post describing this fantastic schools programme called Wondermaths and lamented how I couldn't find any of it on the Internet. Now, a year and a half on, I'm immeasurably proud to bring it back to the world myself, thanks once again to my parents and their VHS to DVD convertor.

This was British 80s edutainment at the height of its glorious tackiness, and was a maths programme dressed up in a continuing story about Zak, Stella and their robotic pet, a baby Dalek called Hudson, trying to get to Earth for a holiday, where they completely waste their time by visiting Taunton. On the way they encounter various life-threatening space phenomena that can only be defeated by the power of maths, such as constructing a scale model to find out which fuel line they should repair to prevent the ship from freezing, or working out which shapes wouldn't tesselate to escape from the web of a giant spider.

Everything looks about as wobbly as you would realistically expect from a British space program, with the frequent checking of the manual and worrying about teatime, but I've no idea where Hudson is meant to be from - he sounds like someone from France trying to speak like a Welshman with a German accent. Apparently bright and reflective shell suits were all the rage in the future, making them look slightly like The Scousers In Space (and see just before 5:00 on the video above for the unexpected punchline to that comparison).

The best part was provided by the guitarist who played Zak, who was honestly called Christopher Lillicrap (of the Noel Gay Organisation For People With Really Stupid Names), because quite apart from his colossal overacting throughout, he wrote the typically masterful 80s theme music for the end credits. In the song he calls the crew "a magnificent three", but there's very little evidence of this in the episodes - in fact, looking at it now I'm very surprised that he didn't just shoot Hudson out of a cannon after having to spend the first couple of episodes with him. Meep, meep.
davidn: (skull)
I'm not doing my insane reverse jetlag any favours at all. After getting up at 4am again yesterday I fell asleep by accident in the middle of the day and had this... ghastly dream about enormous crabs. The viewpoint skipped about as these things often do, but I was first watching and then participating in a documentary about hunting and capturing them (and Paul Merton was on it, standing off to one side and being irrelevant).

We were looking into this... I'm sure it was meant to be a house, but it was long and thin and the floor was at chest height from the outside, more like the back of a lorry. Perhaps a caravan entirely opened up at one end. Somebody twitched a rug aside, revealing a reasonably large spider, which scared me enough, but just at that moment the Dark Lord of the Land of Crabs Himself scuttled out from the back of the room, a white and red Lovecraftian monstrosity at least three feet high, covered in inch-long spikes coming out of its joints, with its eight massive pincers raised to attack.

Naturally this caused me to back off a little as this thing jumped off the lorry/caravan/house and came towards me, but the crab-capturing expert that we had on the programme stepped in to demonstrate that crabs love apples, even flesh-devouring nightmares like the one that had somehow been hiding in front of us. Who knows how this was found out, but it seemed to be true, because he distracted the bundle of spikes and pincers by putting a fresh green apple on the ground, and it scuttled over towards it curiously. What it didn't realize, of course, that there was another apple slightly behind the first one - but this was a trap apple, and as soon as it poked the first apple the fake one behind it ballooned up forwards like an airbag and engulfed it entirely, thus rendering it harmless.

So... for further nightmare fuel, I'd quite like to get some opinions on this video that I put up yesterday. This was something that I saw when I was much younger and then half-thought I'd dreamt because it's just so absolutely out of nowhere. To explain the situation, each series of the schools music programme Music Time was based around some sort of classical music storyline (such as Peter and the Wolf), but this time they sent the presenters INTO SPACE and did a series about the world's first concept album, the recently-recompleted Planets suite by Holst. Each programme was spent around a different planet and exploring its themes, ending with Neptune, which the choir performs at the end of this video. Watch from about 7:00 to the end to get an idea of why this ending was lodged into my memory.

Well, then. I think the rest qualifies as spoilers: What the cobblers were they thinking? They killed the cast of Music Time! It was even eerier watching this as I uploaded it, because I thought that it was obviously a false memory, but it really did play out that way - unless I'm misinterpreting it dramatically, they say goodbye, drift off peacefully in their Miyazaki ship, when suddenly there's a tremendous explosion and the next thing we know, their clockwork navigation device is left to drift around the coldness of space for all eternity while the ghostly choir echoes in the distance. What? Thanks for watching The Planets, goodbye - AND THEY WERE ALL DEAD, THE END. Thanks a lot.
davidn: (prince)
So far I've uploaded close to 30 videos from ten different programmes (split into ten-minute sections as needed because of the upload limit). A couple of them have been flagged as containing copyrighted content, but all that happens in that case (if they choose to do so) is that the claimer puts an advert on the page with the video, so for the moment at least, they are still safely preserved.

Since the last time I updated I've put up some of The Flumps, Bertha, Pigeon Street, a series that Tony Robinson did just after Blackadder called Story World, an episode of Watt on Earth (the serial about the morphing alien with backwards ears, written by a couple of the people who also worked on Doctor Who), one episode of Badger Girl from Look and Read, and Hart Beat.

Cluedo is definitely the one in the most demand - I'll have to see if there are more programmes aimed at adults on the tapes - but I think my favourite so far is something in the middle of Hart Beat that caught my eye, and I thought it was hilarious enough to earn its own separate video. It's a 30-second stop-motion piece, presumably by Tony Hart, that shows a clockwork mouse outwitting a mousetrap.

davidn: (Default)
Throughout the 80s, my parents used to tape a heap of daytime schools and children's programmes for me, and this resulted in a mountain of VHS tapes that had been sitting largely forgotten at the back of the video cupboard for a couple of decades. It's also a habit that somehow spread to me, as I then continued taping virtually everything I or any of my siblings happened to watch in the 90s and storing it away with the rest of the repository. A few weeks ago, my parents decided to do something about them before they were lost forever, so they got a VHS to DVD convertor and started rescuing them. And among the things that my parents brought with them to Boston last week were four DVDs, the result of their digging efforts so far.

After receiving those I've started on my half of the plan, packaging the DVD videos up neatly into episodes and releasing them to roam free on the Internet so that they can be viewed again. I've set up a Youtube account for this by the name of http://uk.youtube.com/user/TributeToThePast (named because there are at least a couple of people on my Friends list who would have called it a huge missed opportunity if I hadn't) and have put up a few of the rarer ones - these amount to a few episodes of Video Maths (a once hi-tech maths programme aided by the BBC Micro), Chockablock, The Flumps and the UK attempt at turning Cluedo into a panel quiz, complete with Richard Wilson as the Reverend Green. As more videos are converted I hope to keep putting the really unique stuff up there.

I skipped through the four DVDs so far and noted down names of programmes and episode titles as they went past - there isn't anything totally earth-shattering here from my point of view, but there are definitely a couple of things that Youtube doesn't have (Bertha, Pigeon Street and the Rainbow pantomime will probably be next on my list). The contents seem to be split across 80s British and 90s American programmes on each one - I would have expected the tapes to have either one or the other without mixing them as much, but I don't know the process involved in getting them into this state in the first place.

If there's anything that you'd particularly like to see again, mention it in the comments and I'll put it up for you. (I, personally, can't wait for Wondermaths to turn up and for me to prove that it did exist and I'm not just making a sci-fi/maths serial up.)

Now that I look at it, these might also be quite telling indicators of what turned me into the... fine, upstanding citizen that I am today.

The list so far )

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